Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports

St. Lucia

St. Lucia
2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor:

Moderate Advancement

In 2017, Saint Lucia made a moderate advancement in efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The National Social Protection Policy provided social welfare assistance to low income families instead of only targeted individuals. The government also held workshops with secondary school officials to raise awareness of child labor issues. A rapid assessment conducted by the ILO in 2016 revealed limited evidence that children in Saint Lucia engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation and the sale and transportation of drugs. Saint Lucia's law does not fully protect children from hazardous work and illicit activities.

Although research is limited, there is evidence that children in Saint Lucia engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation and the sale and distribution of drugs. (1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6) Table 1 provides key indicators on children's work and education in Saint Lucia.

Table 1. Statistics on Children's Work and Education

Children

Age

Percent

Working (% and population)

5 to 14

7.5 (2,017)

Attending School (%)

5 to 14

99.7

Combining Work and School (%)

7 to 14

8.2

Primary Completion Rate (%)

 

Unavailable

Source for primary completion rate: Data from 2007, published by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2018. (7)
Source for all other data: Understanding Children’s Work Project’s analysis of statistics from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 4, 2012
. (8)

 

Based on a review of available information, Table 2 provides an overview of children's work by sector and activity.

Table 2. Overview of Children's Work by Sector and Activity

Sector/Industry

Activity

Services

Street vending, including selling food and handicrafts in markets (1; 9; 10; 3)

Categorical Worst Forms of Child Labor‡

Commercial sexual exploitation (2; 11; 3; 5; 6)

Sale and distribution of drugs (2; 10; 3; 4)

‡ Child labor understood as the worst forms of child labor per se under Article 3(a)–(c) of ILO C. 182.

 

Saint Lucia lacks detailed data on the extent of child labor in the country. A rapid assessment conducted by the ILO in 2016 revealed limited evidence that children engage in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes in exchange for rides, clothing, or cell phones or with the knowledge or encouragement of parents in situations of financial need. (2; 12; 3; 4) Limited evidence also suggests that children are used to transport and sell drugs. (2; 3; 4) Local and foreign children are also subjected to sex trafficking, including by parents and caregivers. (5; 13; 6; 14)

Saint Lucia has ratified most key international conventions concerning child labor (Table 3).

Table 3. Ratification of International Conventions on Child Labor

Convention

Ratification

ILO C. 138, Minimum Age

 

ILO C. 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor

UN CRC

UN CRC Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict

UN CRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons

 

The government has established laws and regulations related to child labor (Table 4). However, gaps exist in Saint Lucia's legal framework to adequately protect children from child labor, including prohibition of commercial sexual exploitation of children and using children in illicit activities.

Table 4. Laws and Regulations on Child Labor

Standard

Meets International Standards: Yes/No

Age

Legislation

Minimum Age for Work

Yes

15

Article 122 of the Labor Code (15; 16)

Minimum Age for Hazardous Work

Yes

18

Article 122(2) of the Labor Code (15)

Identification of Hazardous Occupations or Activities Prohibited for Children

No

 

Articles 126(b) and 214 of the Labor Code (15)

Prohibition of Forced Labor

No

 

Article 4 of the Constitution; Article 6 of the Labor Code (15; 17)

Prohibition of Child Trafficking

Yes

 

Articles 3, 5, and 10(c) of Counter-Trafficking Act No. 7 (18)

Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

No

 

Articles 141 of the Criminal Code; Articles 2 and 5 of Counter-Trafficking Act No. 7 (18; 19)

Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities

No

 

Articles 141 and 560 of the Criminal Code (19)

Prohibition of Military Recruitment

 

 

 

State Compulsory

N/A*†

 

 

State Voluntary

N/A*†

 

 

Non-state

No

 

 

Compulsory Education Age

Yes

15

Article 27 of the Education Act (20)

Free Public Education

Yes

 

Article 16 of the Education Act (20)

* No conscription (21)
† No standing military (21)

 

Saint Lucia has not determined by national law or regulation the types of hazardous work prohibited for children. (3; 15) In addition, although the Criminal Code prohibits the use of children in some illicit activities, such as street work, the using, procuring, or offering of children for the production and trafficking of drugs is not criminally prohibited. (19; 22) Laws related to forced labor are insufficient because forced labor is not criminally prohibited except when it results from human trafficking. The law does not sufficiently prohibit commercial sexual exploitation because the use or offering of children for commercial sexual exploitation is not criminally prohibited. (18)

The government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labor (Table 5). However, gaps exist within the authority of the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, and Labor that may hinder adequate enforcement of their child labor laws.

Table 5. Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement

Organization/Agency

Role

Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, and Labor

Enforce laws on child labor, in part through labor inspections conducted by its Department of Labor. (23; 24)

Royal Saint Lucia Police Force

Enforce criminal laws related to the worst forms of child labor. Through its Vulnerable Persons Unit, investigate cases of child labor, abuse, and neglect, and work in collaboration with the Division of Human Services. (9) Use a specific manual to investigate crimes related to children. (23)

Ministry of Home Affairs, National Security, and Justice

Coordinate and lead on anti–human trafficking issues with various ministries. (3; 6)

 

Labor Law Enforcement

In 2017, labor law enforcement agencies in Saint Lucia took actions to combat child labor (Table 6). However, gaps exist within the authority of the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, and Labor that may hinder adequate labor law enforcement, including penalty assessment authorization.

Table 6. Labor Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Labor Law Enforcement

2016

2017

Labor Inspectorate Funding

Unknown* (2)

$878,270 (3)

Number of Labor Inspectors

7 (2)

9 (3)

Inspectorate Authorized to Assess Penalties

No (2)

No (3)

Training for Labor Inspectors

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

N/A

No (25)

Training on New Laws Related to Child Labor

N/A (2)

No (3)

Refresher Courses Provided

No (2)

No (25)

Number of Labor Inspections Conducted

250 (2)

Unknown (25)

Number Conducted at Worksites

Unknown

Unknown (25)

Number of Child Labor Violations Found

0 (2)

0 (3)

Number of Child Labor Violations for Which Penalties were Imposed

N/A (2)

0 (3)

Number of Child Labor Penalties Imposed that were Collected

N/A (2)

0 (3)

Routine Inspections Conducted

Yes (2)

Yes (3)

Routine Inspections Targeted

No (2)

No (3)

Unannounced Inspections Permitted

Yes (2)

Yes (3)

Unannounced Inspections Conducted

Yes (2)

Yes (3)

Complaint Mechanism Exists

Yes (2)

Yes (3)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Labor Authorities and Social Services

Yes (2)

Yes (3)

* The government does not publish this information.

 

Although inspectors look for child labor and forced labor violations during inspections, insufficient funding hampers the Labor Inspectorate's capacity to enforce child labor laws in all relevant sectors. (9; 26; 25) Inspectors can make recommendations to the Labor Commissioner but cannot assess penalties, and existing penalties are insufficient to deter employers from committing child labor violations. (2; 27; 25)

Criminal Law Enforcement

In 2017, criminal law enforcement agencies in Saint Lucia took actions to combat child labor (Table 7). However, gaps exist within the operations of the criminal enforcement agencies that may hinder adequate criminal law enforcement, including training criminal investigators.

Table 7. Criminal Law Enforcement Efforts Related to Child Labor

Overview of Criminal Law Enforcement

2016

2017

Training for Investigators

 

 

Initial Training for New Employees

No (2)

No (3)

Training on New Laws Related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor

N/A

No (3)

Refresher Courses Provided

Yes (13)

Yes (3)

Number of Investigations

0 (2)

0 (3)

Number of Violations Found

0 (2)

0 (3)

Number of Prosecutions Initiated

0 (2)

0 (3)

Number of Convictions

0 (2)

0 (3)

Reciprocal Referral Mechanism Exists Between Criminal Authorities and Social Services

Yes (2)

Yes (3)

 

Although the local police can enforce laws against the worst forms of child labor, it is the Vulnerable Persons Unit who leads this effort. (2) During the reporting period, police officers were trained on victim identification, referral, and assistance skills. (6) However, sufficient training for police is needed in order to adequately identify and work with child victims of human trafficking. (3; 25; 25) In addition, insufficient resources, including funding, transportation, and equipment hamper police capacity to enforce child labor laws. (2; 3) The judicial system within the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Security, and Justice also has a backlog of cases and lacks personnel and resources. (6; 25)

The government has established mechanisms to coordinate its efforts to address child labor (Table 8).

Table 8. Key Mechanisms to Coordinate Government Efforts on Child Labor

Coordinating Body

Role and Description

Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services, and Gender Relations

Refer potential child labor cases to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. (23)

Trafficking in Persons Task Force

Coordinate the identification and referral of human trafficking cases among law enforcement, social services, and immigration officials under the Counter-Trafficking Act. Comprises public servants, including representatives from the Department of Labor, police, and victim-service NGOs. (10; 18; 23) Continued work in 2017. (3)

Office of Gender Relations

Provide referrals to human trafficking victims for health, advocacy, crisis, and legal services. (5)

The government has established policies related to child labor (Table 9). However, policy gaps exist that hinder efforts to address child labor, including mainstreaming child labor issues into relevant policies.

Table 9. Key Policies Related to Child Labor

Policy

Description

National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons (2015–2018)

Identifies the strategic goals and objectives for combating human trafficking, and the means to achieve them. The action plan was active in 2017 with public awareness campaigns. (3) Establishes the coordination of counter-trafficking measures and the adequate cooperation between all actors through the National Framework for Combating Trafficking in Persons. (2; 13; 28)

National Social Protection Policy (2014–2024)

Establishes a social protection policy in Phase I (2014–2019) by consolidating the Social Safety Net programs. In Phase II (2019–2024), implements wider reforms for creating a coherent social protection policy. (2) Child protection policies are incorporated into poverty reduction concepts and promote access to education. (9; 29) The policy was active in 2017 and seeks to harmonize two social programs to better deliver social services. (3)

 

During the reporting period, the National Social Protection Policy provided assistance to serve entire families instead of only targeted individuals. (3) This has helped a core group of the lowest-income families, and has plans to distribute assistance to more people in 2018 through 2019. (3) Also, the Ministry designed a formal inter-agency mechanism to oversee poverty reduction programming and intervention. (3) However, case management within the mechanism remains an issue due to not being electronic. Although, the government is working on changing the system to prevent potential loss and damage of files, as well as greater coordination between agencies. (3; 25) In addition, child labor elimination and prevention strategies are not integrated into the National Social Protection Policy. (10) Research did not reveal policies addressing commercial sexual exploitation of children and the National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons lacked funding to fully implement all objectives. (6)

During the reporting period, Saint Lucia attended the 10th ILO Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labor: Realizing Decent Work Under the 2030 Agenda. (30) Government officials discussed and participated in a Regional Inititive to Eliminate Child Labor in the Caribbean. (30; 31)

In 2017, the government funded and participated in programs that may contribute to eliminating or preventing child labor (Table 10). However, gaps exist in these social programs, including funding and adequacy to address the full scope of the problem.

Table 10. Key Social Programs to Address Child Labor‡

Program

Description

ILO Decent Work Program

Promotes decent work and advances the ILO's Decent Work Agenda. (2) In 2017 the program was active and completed a rapid assessment of child labor. (3; 4) The Saint Lucia Trade Union Federation, with support from the ILO Office for the Caribbean, held workshops to raise awareness on child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. (32; 33)

Educational Programs†

The Saint Lucia Social Development Fund and Public Assistance Program fosters school attendance; the Community Empowerment’s After School Program aims to improve academic performance and maintains school attendance of children ages 8 to 16; the Upton Garden Girls Center provides education, training, and self-development opportunities to teenage girls; the Center for Adolescent Renewal and Education provides second-chance education, training, and self-development services to adolescents; the Boys Training Center supports boys ages 10 to 18 who have come in contact with the law or require care and protection; and the Koudmen Sent Lisi program funds textbook rentals, a book bursary that reimburses students for textbooks, a school feeding program, and a transportation subsidy program at most secondary schools. (1; 2; 9; 3) All of the programs were active in 2017. (25)

Strengthening Capacity to Accelerate Eradication of Child Labor in Latin America and the Caribbean

Government of Spain-funded $603,070, 2-year project implemented by ILO-IPEC that aims to strengthen public policies and government capacity to combat child labor in over 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Saint Lucia. (34) The program was active in 2017. (25)

† Program is funded by the Government of Saint Lucia.
‡ The government had other social programs that may have included the goal of eliminating or preventing child labor. (35; 36; 6)

 

Research found no evidence of any programs with the specific goal of eliminating or preventing child labor, including its worst forms. In addition, overall funding for social programs remains a concern because it does not meet the needs of all children in the country, especially trafficked children and those engaged in illicit activities, and it is highly dependent on foreign assistance. (3; 6)

Based on the reporting above, suggested actions are identified that would advance the elimination of child labor in Saint Lucia (Table 11).

Table 11. Suggested Government Actions to Eliminate Child Labor

Area

Suggested Action

Year(s) Suggested

Legal Framework

Determine the types of hazardous work prohibited for children in consultation with employers’ and workers’ organizations.

2017

Ensure that laws criminally prohibit the forced labor of children.

2016 – 2017

Ensure that laws criminally prohibit the using or offering of a child for commercial sexual exploitation.

2016 – 2017

Ensure that laws prohibit procuring or offering a child for illicit activities, including drug trafficking and production.

2011 – 2017

Ensure that the law criminally prohibits the recruitment of children under age 18 into non-state armed groups.

2016 – 2017

Enforcement

Authorize labor inspectors to assess penalties for labor law violations.

2016 – 2017

Ensure that new labor inspectors and criminal law enforcement investigators receive training on child labor law enforcement and that refresher courses are provided for all labor inspectors.

2015 – 2017

Strengthen the Labor Inspectorate by initiating targeted inspections based on analysis of data on risk-prone sectors and patterns of serious incidents.

2015 – 2017

Ensure that the Labor Inspectorate receives sufficient funding for conducting labor inspections.

2015 – 2017

Increase the resources allocated to criminal investigators, including transportation and equipment.

2017

Manage judicial cases adequately by ensuring that there is no backlog and increasing resources, including personnel.

2017

Government Policies

Ensure that child labor elimination and prevention strategies are integrated into the National Social Protection Policy.

2015 – 2017

Adopt a policy that addresses all worst forms of child labor, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

2010 – 2017

Increase funding for the National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons so that it can meet all of its objectives.

2017

Social Programs

Collect and publish data on the extent and nature of child labor to inform policies and programs.

2017

Design and implement social programs that specifically target and assist children engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation and illicit activities such as the sale and transportation of drugs.

2013 – 2017

Ensure that funding for social programs is sufficient so that it can meet the needs of all vulnerable children in the country and does not rely on foreign funding.

2017

1. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. Reporting, January 14, 2015.

2. —. Reporting, January 11, 2017.

3. —. Reporting, Janaury 24, 2018.

4. ILO. Rapid Assessment of child labour in Saint Lucia. 2017. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---americas/---ro-lima/---sro-port_of_spain/documents/publication/wcms_570384.pdf.

5. U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report- 2016: Saint Lucia. Washington, DC. March 3, 2017. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258876.pdf.

6. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. Reporting, February 12, 2018.

7. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Gross intake ratio to the last grade of primary education, both sexes (%). Accessed January 4, 2018. http://data.uis.unesco.org/. For more information, please see the “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

8. UCW. Analysis of Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Statistics from National Household or Child Labor Surveys. Original data from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5, 2014. Analysis received January 12, 2018. Please see “Children's Work and Education Statistics: Sources and Definitions” in the Reference Materials section of this report.

9. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. Reporting, January 15, 2016.

10. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 3, 2017.

11. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. Reporting, February 13, 2015.

12. —. Reporting, February 1, 2016.

13. —. Reporting, February 13, 2017.

14. U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2017: Saint Lucia. Washington, DC. April 20, 2018. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/277601.pdf.

15. Government of Saint Lucia. Labour Code. Enacted: 2006. http://www.govt.lc/media.govt.lc/www/resources/legislation/SaintLuciaLabourCode2006.pdf.

16. —. Labour Code Amendment Act. Enacted 2011. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/MONOGRAPH/90256/103932/F1035762991/LCA90256.pdf.

17. —. The Saint Lucia Constitutional Order of 1978. Enacted: 1978. http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Lucia/Luc78.html.

18. —. Counter-Trafficking Act 2010, No. 7. Enacted: January 25, 2010. [Source on file].

19. —. Criminal Code. Enacted 2004. [Source on file].

20. —. Education Act, 41. Enacted 1999. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex4.detail?p_lang=en&p_isn=88071&p_country=LCA&p_count=82.

21. CIA. The World Factbook: Saint Lucia. Cited August 6, 2018. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/st.html.

22. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request Concerning Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No.182) Saint Lucia (Ratification: 2000) Published: 2017. accessed Novemeber 9, 2017. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3294423.

23. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown. Reporting, January 16, 2014.

24. ILO Committee of Experts. Individual Direct Request Concerning Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No.182) Saint Lucia (Ratification: 2000) Published: 2014. accessed November 25, 2014. http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_ID,P11110_COUNTRY_NAME,P11110_COMMENT_YEAR:3142605,103329,Saint.

25. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 20, 2018.

26. U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2015: Saint Lucia. Washington, DC. April 13, 2016. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/253251.pdf.

27. U.S. Embassy- Bridgetown official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. June 20, 2016.

28. Government of Saint Lucia. Statement on capacity building and public awareness campaign in trafficking in persons. October 11, 2017. https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/statement-on-capacity-building-and-public-awareness-campaign-in-trafficking-in-persons/.

29. —. National Social Protection Policy. 2015. http://www.govt.lc/media.govt.lc/www/resources/publications/NSPP---FINAL-05.03.15.pdf.

30. ILO. Realizing Decent Work Under the 2030 Agenda. February 2017. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---americas/---ro-lima/---sro-port_of_spain/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_546189.pdf.

31. —. Regional Initiative, Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour. February 2017. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---americas/---ro-lima/---sro-port_of_spain/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_543801.pdf.

32. —. Caribbean Newslink July-September. 2017. http://www.ilo.org/caribbean/information-resources/publications/WCMS_584697/lang--en/index.htm.

33. Loop News. Local Unions Gaining Awareness on Child Labour. July 4, 2017. http://www.loopslu.com/content/local-unions-gaining-awareness-child-labour-and-human-trafficking-0.

34. ILO-IPEC Geneva official. E-mail communication to USDOL official. February 9, 2017.

35. ILO. Saint Lucia and the Bahamas to host ILO. March 3, 2017. http://www.ilo.org/caribbean/newsroom/WCMS_546408/lang--en/index.htm.

36. St. Lucia Times. King speaks out against poor working conditions. May 1, 2017. https://stluciatimes.com/2017/05/01/king-speaks-poor-working-conditions.